Tazmin Brits triumphs even as Jemimah Rodrigues' knock goes in vain

Tazmin Brits, Marizanne Kapp's impeccable batting performances guided the Proteas, while Jemimah Rodrigues' efforts for India went in vain

Tanveer Singh Kapoor
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Tazmin Brits batting

Tazmin Brits pulled off a masterclass for South Africa © BCCI

Tazmin Brits pulled off a Player of the Match performance and helped South Africa break their losing streak in the India tour by guiding the visitors to a win in the first T20I on Friday (July 5) at the M A Chidambaram Stadium. Marizanne Kapp also contributed with a sturdy 33-ball 57 runs to aid the Proteas. 

India won the toss and sent South Africa out to bat first. The first two overs proved to be economical for the home side, but Laura Wolvaardt dispatched Renuka Singh Thakur for 16 runs in the third over, which put South Africa in the driver's seat. Pooja Vastrakar dominated Brits in the earlier overs, with the opening batter taking 10 deliveries to get off the mark. Substitute fielder Shreyanka Patil dropped a chance at point which could've dismissed the South African skipper on 22 runs.

The Proteas shifted gears as they began to take on the Indian spinners. Wolvaardt ultimately lost her wicket while trying to play aggressively, with Radha Yadav getting the better of her. Next batter Marizanne Kapp started off with intent, hitting two boundaries off her first three balls. She got lucky in the 11th over on two occasions. Richa Ghosh put down the chance to send Kapp back to the pavilion, followed by another missed opportunity by Smriti Mandhana.

It took Brits and Kapp a couple of overs to get properly set before they went rampant against the Indian bowling attack. Brits survived on 49 runs when Ghosh dropped her second catch of the day. She turned her 51-ball 50 runs turned into 56-ball 81 runs, smashing every bowler coming in her way. The pair added 96 runs in just 9.2 overs. The last four overs of the innings saw 44 runs as South Africa finished with a total of 189 for 4. Vastrakar had the best bowling figures for India, picking up two wickets and conceding 23 runs in her four-over spell.

With Team India having a big score to chase, a lot lied on the shoulders of Shafali Verma and the in-form Mandhana. The opening pair was off to a flying start, attacking the Proteas with brute force. India scored 54 runs in the first five overs, but Shafali departed for 18 runs in the final over of the powerplay. Mandhana continued her electric form, while Dayalan Hemalatha struggled to make an impact. The middle order batter's slow knock made Mandhana take more risks, which eventually led to her dismissal too. But her 30-ball 46 runs gave India a brilliant start.

The struggling Hemalatha also walked back to the dugout in the very next over, thanks to Nadine de Klerk. Mandhana's wicket slowed things down considerably for India. New batters Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues were tasked to seal the game for the hosts. Rodrigues, whose batting position has changed since Hemalatha's return to the team, fought the South African bowlers and Chennai's slow pitch. Meanwhile, Harmanpreet struggled with cramps, which limited her from playing aggressive shots. 

Rodrigues kept fighting for India in an effort to snatch the win away from the Proteas. She scored a half-century off 29 balls, also bringing the equation down from 47 off 18 to 21 off the last over. But South Africa managed to hold their nerves and win the game by 12 runs, taking the 1-0 lead in the T20I series.

Brief Scores: South Africa 189/4 in 20 overs (Tazmin Brits 81, Marizanne Kapp 57; Pooja Vastrakar 2/23) beat India 177/4 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 53*, Smriti Mandhana 46; Nadine de Klerk 1/30) by 12 runs. POTM: Tazmin Brits